FACT CHECK: South Dakota Riot Boosting Law Is Clear, Protects First Amendment

CLAIM: The ACLU of South Dakota claims that a new state law designed to reduce the risks associated with pipeline construction and protect workers “(chills) protected speech and (fails) to adequately describe what speech or conduct could subject protesters and organizations to criminal and civil penalties.”



As previously noted, the new law does not threaten free speech. Additionally, the language in Senate Bill 189 is clear on the violent behavior the law seeks to address:

In addition to any other liability or criminal penalty under law, a person is liable for riot boosting, jointly and severally with any other person, to the state or a political subdivision in an action for damages if the person:

(1)     Participates in any riot and directs, advises, encourages, or solicits any other person participating in the riot to acts of force or violence;

(2)    Does not personally participate in any riot but directs, advises, encourages, or solicits other persons participating in the riot to acts of force or violence; or

(3)    Upon the direction, advice, encouragement, or solicitation of any other person, uses force or violence, or makes any threat to use force or violence, if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by three or more persons, acting together and without authority of law.